Using Adobe Air 3.0 with Adobe Flash Builder 4.5

On October 18, 2011, in Android, Flash Flex AIR, by James Liu

AIR 3.0Adobe released Adobe Flash Player11 and Adobe AIR 3. For Adobe and flash/flex developers, it is a big milestone. For the new version for these two products, make a huge progress in performance improvement and device compatibility. Now the latest Flash Player version is 11.0.1.152 and the AIR, AIR SDK is 3.0.

New Features in Both Flash Player11 and AIR 3

  • Stage 3D Accelerated Graphics Rendering, only available for Flash Player, AIR desktop and AIR for TV;
  • Flash Access Content Protection Enhancements;
  • Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming;
  • NetStream.dispose();
  • H.264/AVC Software Encoding for Cameras (desktop)
  • JPEG-XR support
  • Enhanced high resolution bitmap support
  • High efficiency SWF compression support
  • Native JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) Support
  • Garbage Collection Advice
  • Cubic Bezier Curves
  • Secure Random Number Generator
  • Socket Progress Events
  • DisplayObjectContainer.removeChildren and MovieClip.isPlaying

New Features in AIR 3

  • Native Extensions
  • Captive Runtime Support

I’m quite exciting that the new update solve several problems that I am facing. For example, the bitmap resolution has a maximum size limitation in AIR 2.0 and Flash Player 10. In the previous version, the bitmapdata can not bigger than 8191 pixels in width or height. After we switch to the flash player 11, it is just solved and it seems there is not limitation for bitmapdata size any more.

Native JSON API is another good improvement for flash, flex developers. Currently lots of web applications transform data in JSON format. In my previous photo application, I have to write two sets of API to support the android applications and flex applications.

As AIR 3 Release Notes, the latest version of AIR will support the mobile device much better than before. It will fully support the Hardware Acceleration to deliver efficient HD video playback experiences. And it also can play H.264 & AAC in IOS. At the mean time, it also supports front-facing camera, background audio playback, and device speaker now.

There are two big features I must need to mention: Native Extensions and Captive Runtime.

Native Extensions — Native extension libraries allow developers to create and use native libraries that can be invoked using ActionScript. These libraries allow ActionScript developers to take advantage of the same platform and device-specific native capabilities and APIs available to native apps, with easy integration into AIR applications. In addition, native extensions can be used for performance critical code or porting existing native libraries like image decoders for use within an AIR application.

Captive Runtime Support — This popular feature from AIR for iOS is now available with AIR for desktop, Android and TV. Simplify the app installation process and reduce testing/certification cost by packaging the AIR runtime with your app on Windows, Mac, Android and TVs.

I have to say that Adobe developers really know what their users’ problems are. I’m try to develop flash flex application for android and iPhone. But it is quit difficult for me to monetize these applications, because they don’t support the admob or iAd mobile advertising platform. But for AIR 3.0, it becomes possible. We can write the admob module in native code and invoke them from AIR application in android apps. We can even use this feature to implement the in app purchase in both android and ios.

The captive runtime is another feature which will help me a lot. When you create a AIR application and deliver to your users, have you meet these situation that the user don’t know how to install the applications because they don’t install the AIR run time? And it is also very strange that you run an application on android and the application redirect you to the AIR installation page. When we use the AIR 3.0, all these problem will be solved.

Now the AIR 3.0 SDK is available on adobe website. And you can download it and use it with latest Flash Builder 4.5. When you work with AIR 3.0 in Flash Builder 4.5 for iOS applications, you may get error in debuging or deploy your iOS application. There are the steps to solve the problem:

From the downloaded AIR SDK, copy the folders \lib\aot\lib\gcc, \lib\aot\bin\as, and \lib\aot\bin\strip to the equivalent folders within the Flex SDK directory as follows:

Copy from AIR SDK directory To Flex SDK directory (4.5.0 or 4.5.1)
\lib\aot\lib\gcc Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 Installation\sdks\4.5.0\lib\aot\lib
\lib\aot\bin\as Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 Installation\sdks\4.5.0\lib\aot\bin
\lib\aot\bin\strip Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 Installation\sdks\4.5.0\lib\aot\bin

From the downloaded AIR SDK, copy the folders \lib\aot\lib\gcc, \lib\aot\bin\as, and \lib\aot\bin\strip to the equivalent folders within the Utilities directory as follows:

Copy from AIR SDK directory To Flex SDK directory (4.5.0 or 4.5.1)
\lib\aot\lib\gcc Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 Installation\utilities\ipa_packager\lib\aot\lib
\lib\aot\bin\as Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 Installation\utilities\ipa_packager\lib\aot\bin
\lib\aot\bin\strip Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 Installation\utilities\ipa_packager\lib\aot\bin
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